Knicks to play 1-3-1 Zone?
With a starting lineup of Felton, Gallinari, Randolph, Amare, Turiaf..the Knicks would be a team that would create multiple mis matches for the opposing teams. The opposition will have a tough time with the size of the Knicks team and the speed of Felton to put the icing on the cake.
With a 1-3-1 zone, this lineup could actualyl work. Man to man, this lineup would get beat since Gallo would get blown away by fast SG's and Randolph can't use his shot blocking and rebounding presence against PF's in the post.
What does everyone think of this article? It make me think twice. This might be a good idea.
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By Chris Alvino on Sep 02, 2010, 5:23 pm
Without getting into the argument of whether or not a Mike D’Antoni coached team is capable of defending, let’s keep one thing in mind. Every team in the NBA plays defense. It is a fundamental part of the game. How well teams play defense is another story and something I am willing to discuss in this article.
Last season, the Knicks did not play defense well as a team. However, before [Only registered and activated users can see images. Click Here To Register...] was dealt, the team did have some success with him defending at the top of a zone. His length and quickness helped to contain the opposition.
With a potential starting line-up of Ray Felton, [Only registered and activated users can see images. Click Here To Register...], Anthony Randolph, Amare Stoudemire, and Ronnie Turiaf, the Knicks figure to have more length than any other team in the league. With that length, the Knicks can find themselves either facing matchup problems or creating matchup nightmares for the opposition depending on how they play. Even though Danilo Gallinari receives a worse reputation than he deserves for his defensive abilities, I am not sure how well he will be able to defend shorter, quicker shooting guards. Every time down the floor, I would expect the opposing guards to attack Gallo and force him to tire out and potentially get into foul trouble.
Despite preferring man-to-man defense, I am beginning to believe that if the starting line-up is consistent with the one mentioned above, then perhaps a zone defensive scheme would work better. I am envisioning the Knicks running a 1-3-1 zone scheme, with Ray Felton harassing the ball-handler at the top of the key, Gallo and Randolph on the wings, Amare in the middle, and Turiaf quarterbacking the zone from underneath the hoop. Felton’s quickness and defensive ability should be able to slow / stop penetration from the opposing point guard, thus forcing him to kick it to one of his wings. At that point, I believe that Gallo’s and Randolph’s length will allow them to get out on those wings quickly, thus contesting jump-shooters. With Turiaf’s ability to block shots and to put a body on players once shots go up, I think he would be a good fit in the back of the 1-3-1 (that is not even mentioning his motor mouth while he is on the floor. Those who have played zone before understand the need for good rotation and for communication amongst the five teammates). Then once [Only registered and activated users can see images. Click Here To Register...] (potentially the 6<sup>th</sup> man) checks in for Turiaf, he would shift to the wing and force Randolph underneath the hoop.
Schemes can change once more traditional line-ups are on the floor. For instance, once a player like Roger Mason or Kelenna Azubuike checks into the line-up, they should be able to defend man-to-man.
Another interesting possibility would be having Anthony Randolph playing at the top of a zone. We all saw how Coach Mike used the athletically versatile Jeffries last year. Could Randolph take over that role for this year’s Knicks?
Defense starts with heart and grit. To be able to defend well, players have to want to defend well and have to put their all into doing so. However, some defensive tactics can aid a team in defending well. The Knicks will have to play a defense that suits their personnel at different points during the game. Would playing a zone be best with Felton, Gallo, Randolph, Amare and Turiaf on the floor?